Fiction Friday – World Book Day

My Favourite Books

Yesterday was World Book Day is a day to celebrate all thing books, a chance to dress up as our favourite book characters or just a chance to settle down and enjoy a good book, new or old. I didn’t do much in the way of celebrating but it got me thinking about books I have loved over the years, so today I am going to share with you a few books that I have come to know and love and how I found them, in a way, this is a short compilation of my life in books!

  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.  My Uncle bought me this book when I was 8 and although it is considered a “grown-up book”  I read it over the course of a few days and really lost myself in the story.  I have read it again a few times since and still get lost in it.  It was amazing to see the movie of it too!
  • Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.  My Grandma would always buy my brothers and I a book each for Christmas and Birthdays and I remember being around 9 when she gave me the very first book in the series for a Christmas present.  On Boxing Day I sat and devoured the book in one go and couldn’t wait for the next!  One of the boys in my class was reading the series so we would swap books so we could read the full series without having to spend our pocket money on the next book.
  • What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge.  My Mum bought me these books after I had finished Malory Towers.  I used to sneak read these at night, hiding my book under my pillow and then reading by torchlight when my parents had gone to sleep.
  • Point Horror – Various Authors.  When I started High School we had access to a brilliantly stocked library that had fiction books, textbooks and general books.  I started reading these with my best friend, we would have sleepovers at her house and read them out loud to each other.
  • The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine by HG Wells.  I read my first HG Wells book as part of my GCSE English lessons in school and fell in love with his writing and story weaving capabilities.  I read both in quick succession of each other.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I borrowed this book from my college boyfriend, it was a huge, heavy, hardback edition that had the complete story in.  I read it over the summer holidays when I was 18 and took it everywhere with me.  While most kids my age were watching (I believe) the first-ever Big Brother, I had my nose stuck in the pages of this book.
  • Others by James Herbert.  I was on a school trip to Germany, accompanying my Aunt who was a teacher and I bought this in duty-free to read on the coach as I’m not particularly good at sleeping in moving vehicles and it kept me awake all night, I couldn’t peel myself away from the story and needed to find out what happened in the end!
  • Dr Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell.  I don’t remember how I got into reading Patricia Cornwell’s books but I loved the Dr Kay Scarpetta series and remember waiting outside my local bookshop when a new book of hers was released and being so excited to get my hands on the next book!
  • Creepers by David Morell.  My friend gave me this book as she thought I might enjoy it as I am interested in urban exploration (though I have never had the guts to go!) and she wasn’t wrong!  This is still a book I pick up and re-read every few months or so and have currently read it 8 times!

There are lots more books that I could mention but these are the standout ones for me that I remember the most,  I’d love to work out a timeline in books one day, starting at the Kathy and Mark books we were taught to read as kids, then the Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl books right up to the books that I read now though I think I may have to wait until I have more free time to work on that!  What are some of your all-time favourite books?  Let me know in the comments as I’d love to see if I have read them too, if not I may have to add them to my tbr pile!

How I Stay Creative

Being Creative

I’d love to say that I’m always creative and have ideas going round in my head all the time, but like all energies, the creative energy that generates ideas ebbs and flows as unpredictably as a river after a heavy rain.  I have days, weeks, and rarely, months, where I seem to be forever creating and crafting and the ideas seem to keep on coming at me, but I also have times where my ideas and passion for creating seem to dry up and shrivel away to nothing.

In the past, staying creative was easy – university provided me with loose themed projects to work on, our own interpretation of the topic was hugely encouraged.  It made thinking about topics and things to do incredibly easy, in some ways it took that ability away from me.  I found it easy to come up with creative ideas when there was a topic presented to me.  We had group chats about our work and the direction we wanted to go in with our projects along with feedback from our peers and lecturers.  We focused on research, trial and error and then the final outcome.  Having other persons input into our ideas really helped.  But now I’m alone and away from group discussion, the onus is on me to continue with being creative.

After I finished university I had this itch to continue to make things but had no real idea of how to start and what to do with this energy inside me.  I had very little skill in knowing how to use this energy and formulate it into solid ideas.  I dealt with it in the worst way possible.  I sat and did nothing, letting this feeling fester and then wither.  While I did continue to take photos and create other bits and pieces here and there, it was nothing like having a project and something to really focus on.

And then the fear started to creep in.  Fear that what I was doing wasn’t good enough, fear that what I was producing didn’t have a point, fear that my ideas were limiting my work and without discussing my ideas and getting feedback and opinions that my work wasn’t somehow validated.  So I stopped.  I stopped creating, I stopped thinking, and I felt like I had lost a part of me.

What really got me back into creating and being creative was social media, I found some Instagram accounts that I liked, I joined Facebook groups where my interests were embraced and where people shared their work with others.  And I slowly started to re-gain confidence in myself and my ideas.

Now, to stay creative I read articles that are related to my interests, I read blogs about crafting and art, I follow lots of Instagram accounts that are working in a similar way to me, and I research skills I’d like to learn.  There are so many craft ideas pages, tutorials and step-by-step instructions on the web that have helped me to.  Lots of the big hobby stores have pages of ideas to read about too, which help.

I keep a notebook of ideas, my phone holds lots of web links, I have saved articles on my pc and I am subscribed to websites that email projects I may be interested in that I can refer to when I hit a wall which helps me to overcome an “artists block”.  I have realised that I don’t always need the guidance of others to help me create and I follow my own set of rules.  I no longer care whether what I create has a point, means something or whether others will like or understand it.  I create for me.  That’s how I stay creative.